TA106 (Müller)

Response 23 (to Adams C59 and Roberts C60)


by Herbert FJ Müller
1 October 2009, posted 3 October 2009


The notes by W Adams and P Roberts are interesting because they are symmetrical, one might say.  I will try answer concisely, in several steps.  (To answer to other queries, I will take some time.  I have a little health problem and need some vacation.)

First, what is metaphysics (ontology) ?  It is the tradition of belief in a mind-independent reality which is supposed to be THE reality but unknowable.  Its purpose is as needed guidelines for thinking and communication.  It is simultaneously impossible because it is a fiction and inaccessible.

Second, the  constructivist replacement for metaphysics is reality-design or -structuring (or working-metaphysics, but this term is better avoided because it is less clear).   This provides the guidelines but without the impossibility.

Thirdly, one has to distinguish between reality structuring, which is needed for all reality, and creating.   For instance if you create a song, its existence depends on you, both for you and for everybody else.

Fourthly, if I understand W Adams correctly, he claims that the same is true for the moon;  it would not exist without him, both for him and for everybody else.   If that is indeed what he proposes, I understand nothing further.  If I misunderstood, please correct me.

Fifthly, P Roberts in contrast defends metaphysics :  one can make a model of mind-independent reality in brain or mind.   Exactly, and that is reality-design.  The mind-independent reality is a working-fantasy.   To make things less abstruse, it helps to be aware of the fact that this (reality-design) includes rather than excludes the subject (as it happens in metaphysics, which, I would say, is common-nonsense).


Herbert FJ Müller
     e-mail <herbert.muller (at) mcgill.ca>